Holiday anxiety may have serious health problems - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Holiday anxiety may have serious health problems

JONESBORO,AR (KAIT)- The Holidays can be the most stressful time of year. A new study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine finds that high levels of anxiety may increase the risk of stroke.

According to the first ever study that looks at how anxiety influences the risk of stroke , people with the highest level of anxiety have a higher chance of having a future stroke.

"I went shopping, prepared and bought food, I started wrapping presents early, we went out and bought a tree and I let the kids decorate it," said shopper Savannah Witt.

The Holiday season can get pretty stressful, for some people Santa only brings anxiety and depression.

"That puts a lot of stress on you waiting till the last minute," Witt said.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, sometimes it's best to stop what you're doing and do something else even if that means walking your dog.

"Every morning I walk down the road and back with my dog because it can get stressful like you said with the holidays," said shopper Melissa Whiteside. "I have prayed a lot, you know during this holiday season it's all about Christ being born."

It also helps to set limits.

"I limit the purchase of the price of the item I'm going to buy," she said. 

But sometimes you have to break the rules.

"Everybody likes a little bling so I went ahead and bought myself my own Christmas present," Whiteside said.

Dr. Dana Watson is a clinical psychologist at Families Inc. and says too much stress and anxiety can really take a toll on your health.

"Holidays are so stressful because they are packed with so many additional activities aside from the ones we already have to do day to day," she said.

Watson suggests being realistic about your goals and yes ladies, delegating your tasks.

"Take timeouts and take breaks and be honest with yourself and your family about your feelings if you're overwhelmed," Watson said.

And don't forget to just sit back and enjoy.

"Don't ruin the season for yourself," Whiteside said. 

Other ways to manage holiday stress is to: plan ahead, don't overspend, be realistic, watch your diet and remember to exercise, learn to say no and take a breather.

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